Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Dad laid on his back to get this shot. He was a bit of amateurish photographer with his Instamatic.    Cherry blossoms in D.C. April 1970

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Team Teddy Tuesday

I read a post on Facebook about the anger some moms may feel with here in the Northeast, the fourth consecutive day off school because of winter weather, with ten total. She gave many reasons for the anxiety. Moms need routine. With tight budgets, unexpected expense of child care, as most workplaces don't shut down because of below zero temps. Bored children eat more, if not watched. Bickering escalates.
During my children's school days, I was blessed with a flexible job. And if the school buses couldn't run, my company didn't expect me to travel roads either. But day after day of two hour delays grow wearying. I truly am glad I don't have to be concerned about this anymore. I don't miss the robo calls, but I thought that was the greatest thing in the last years of my youngest daughter's school career. At least, I could sleep in when I knew the night before.
All this being said, since this day is to increase awareness of child abuse, I urge you readers to pray and be on the look out for stress in moms you may know. Offer some help to these harried moms. Watch kids, if you have time off work. Take in some healthy snacks. Maybe slip some money to help with the unplanned expenses. Most of all, pray for peace in these households.
These winter days can't carry on forever. The sun brings brightness, though, the temperatures are dangerous. Soon, though, we will get a break and the warmth of the sun will outweigh this cold.

Four Years

I wrote this last year. I missed the anniversary of my blog beginnings, but I knew it was around this time. I'm adding, I've published Main Street last July. The twenty third- my dad's birthday. A special day filling the accomplishment with deep meaning. I introduce JT, my father as a little boy, falling in love with Martha's house. I continue writing.
My work in progress now, I hope to finish the first draft by next week and publish by my birthday, April 25.
I am also writing for The Way It Was. Next article in the May issue. I was asked to be the editor for the Team Teddy Page. I guess these past four years show progress. And I still struggle with self doubt, time and can I really make a success of this dream? I soul search that I am pleasing God with my writing. That is my North Star.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lives Slip Silently By

Lives Slip Silently By
Mollie Lyon

 Lives slip silently by.
Who knows what's
Behind that hollow eye,
In dark recesses
Lie past successes.
Gray heads bent
Troubles for a time lent.
We can't see them now
Under that vacant brow.
A sketchy obituary
Read in the paper
Tells some of the story,
But then it's late to know.
We can't reach in.
Sometimes we can't begin.
No one around to start the story
And we find out too late
The story trapped
Behind a precious one's fate.

As Death stalks our hallways again, I wonder at the lives we touch.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Team Teddy Tuesday

A post I wrote on the long lasting effects of child abuse:
Scars endure a long time. Last night, I held a ninety six year old's hand as she had a break down. Strength holds most of the time. Memories attack some days. Her mother was a widow with seven children, when she had an affair. She allowed herself to become pregnant thinking the man would marry her. Instead, he flew away.
The scars of never being kissed by a mother, until the last moments before her death rub raw some days. Never feeling the love of a mother haunt her. Only in the last moments of life, did the mother acknowledge her youngest daughter's stamp on her life, "I don't know what I would have done without you." With that declaration, the single caregiver in her mother's final illness, she received the only kiss on her cheek.
I've known this story for a year, yet tears still form in my eyes. Most days, she doesn't mention her hard childhood. She resembled her father and her mother resented her. The half brothers and sisters ignored her. She found love in her husband and three daughters, but the deep well of love never full because of a mother's lack of love, along with never knowing her father's name.
We think the problems we have today are unique to this generation, but they are not. I only think that maybe they are much more common than the generations before now. My mother suffered abuse, her older brother more. As I work with the elderly, I find more and more, they didn't have the wonderful Norman Rockwell environment that we love to believe. Alcohol ruins many families throughout the centuries. Unwanted children embitter mothers.
I only urge us to watch our words with children. I know a smiling face, like Teddy's, covers tears. But sometimes late at night, a comforting hand years later uncovers the tears. Teddy never will live to ninety six. Some abused children survive. Be kind. Stories creep behind those faces you see every day.

woman,art,veiled,painting,old woman,face,tears,crying,emotional,sad,veil

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Team Teddy Tuesday

I'm looking back at my posts on Teddy and how this all started. Since I was invited to be the editor of the Facebook page, I review what I wrote. On that page, I copy and pasted my first post on Teddy. His now familiar face woke me up then. I wanted to change the world with my words for a boy I never met, but touched my heart.
More than touching my heart, I strove to do something to change. My talent is writing. I reached out to raise awareness. The posts evolved, first to Teddy Tuesday, then with the push for Teddy's Law, I added that. With some of the haggles of  getting a law passed, that had to lay dormant. But a team, Team Teddy, best calls to the purpose of saving more children.
Laws are great, but we need a change of heart. Individuals need to be taught. My posts grew to that with publishing the Child Abuse Hotline Number. I put it on speed dial-1-800-422-4453. I need to work on both aspects.
Teddy's face haunts me, too. I wonder how many Teddy's are out there. We hear of some. There are pages and news articles circulating. Open our eyes to our neighbors. Don't be timid. With reporting suspicions, you don't have to give your name. Just wake up, America.   And we must be kind.

This picture was taken a few months before Teddy was killed. Hero protected his younger twin brothers. The stress shows on his face.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Hanky Alert

A post from three years ago. Now, it is twenty five years since they let me know he was gone. Time jokes with me. Seems to be like yesterday and then a distance far, far away. I can still hear Dad's voice and see his smile. He wasn't perfect. He had a temper, but mostly he controlled it. We all miss him and agree, he died too soon. 

 Sometimes this seems too private to write about, although my whole blog is a tribute to my father in a way. He truly was the influence of our lives. The granddaughters who remember him, all wrote something in school about their grandfather. Michelle achieved an A with hers. I'm sure the others did, too.
So twenty two years ago today, we buried my dad at age sixty eight. I knew he was dying. We had left the private hospital room after being there all day, my brother, mom, sister, Diane, baby Katie and I.  We had said our good-byes as he slipped into non-responsiveness. The nurses on two shifts told us all how wonderful a man he was. They enjoyed coming into his room. He lifted them up.
Two songs ran through my head that day- American Pie and Fire and Rain. My music died some that day. Our hope had been that we would see Dad again before it was obvious that a yeast infection in his blood from the chemo would be his demise. I sat in a secluded corner to nurse Katie while I softly sang those lyrics.
That night at home I journaled about what my dad meant to me. Around two in the morning, Diane called me to let me he was gone.  A dark morning, one of the girls from ICU called to say they were bringing me a sandwich platter. How did they know Dad was gone? They didn't, they were just thinking of me traveling to Cleveland every day.
I tore out that page of my journal to give to Reverend Hicks to use for the funeral. I didn't think to make a copy of it or ask for it back. At the funeral, which we held in the sanctuary, the family sat in the front row. All of us trying so hard not to bawl our eyes out. Mom remarkably held her emotions well. I thought I'd comfort her, but she proved strong. Reverend Hicks read my journal page and then opened the floor for people to comment on how my dad affected their lives. Diane stood first, breaking into tears. Fred Livingston recounted how my dad took him and his brothers under his wing after their father died so early in life. Many others also gave their stories.
Years later my brother-in-law, Ray, the preacher, commends that funeral. He never saw so many people say how much a person affected their life. He has experienced many funerals.
I know so many have lost a loved one, and many loved ones. Each one is special. I read the new style obituaries, the person comes out in the story. At first that was a little unsettling, yet now I find the stories comforting and enjoyable. We are more than what is between the dash. You know, the dash between our birth year and our death year on the headstone.
Youngstown Airport with first grandchild

Playing with me and Larry Barthlomew in their yard across Haywood Street

At my friend's wedding.
Last birthday on earth, July 23, 1989
Celebrate while you're living, those you love and celebrate after they have gone, too. Be thankful for every day you have together and that God blessed you with someone wonderful.

A few vacations, The Jersey Shore with first grandchild, cherry blossoms, Washington, D.C. and Fredricksburg, Virginia, 1970.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Numbers Fall

February Eighth, Twenty Fifteen
(Numbers Fall)
Mollie Lyon

Numbers fall around me
I wrap myself inside myself
Twenty five- Dad died
Four- I started my blog
We watched Gilmore Girls the first time
Ten- I ventured for Sharon Hospital's home health
Thirty five- I know David
Eleven- Mom broke her hip
David got his job away from home.

The numbers keep coming
On a predawn morning
The head is numb from sinus
I lay in my husband's arms,
The head throbs dull
Like the non-light of morning
As numbers fall with the years I recall,
I see them as numbers and remember those years gone
Six- Mom died
Eight- Katie a senior
Thirty six- I was a senior.

I get up to eat so I can take ibuprofen
And write what no one can read again
I wrap myself inside myself
But I write so I can write more.

The sun is behind those thick clouds
I know it is up somewhere
Just not here
Well I can't see it
Hard to be practical and poetic
The dog scratches himself, then sits at the door.
I let him out, not too cold.
The physical numbness
Seems to be going away
As I hope the numbness in my soul does too.
Twenty six-I've looked out this window
Thirty three-we'll be married
The numbers stopped falling.
I try not to remember much more.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Happy Birthday, Laura

As I wrote when I first started this blog(almost three years ago!), Laura Ingalls Wilder's writing story inspires me. I thought about her the other day and how I began reading her stories. Today she was born in 1867. As I stared at the mirror, the similarities ran into my mind. Laura is less than a hundred years older than I- ninety four years at that. Our childhoods are best remembered in the seventies- eighteen and nineteen.
Her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, possessed extreme intelligence from humble beginnings. Like many in that generation, they were unable to afford college, so she was a self taught writer. As such, she did encourage her mother in writing. My daughter tested well. She inspired me in my concrete writer's journey. We do not have the working relationship Rose and Laura had, but I know she reads my blog and compliments me when she likes a post.
Katie also displays interest in the family history. I think my childhood is as foreign to today's generation as Laura's a hundred years earlier. Yet, I am draw to the past to teach us about now and the future. Some values should never die.
Laura honed her writing skills for decades before she published her book. She had one idea of her story, as a first person Pioneer Girl, but editors persuaded the third person story of little Laura. The facts in the first stories do not correspond with her real life. Vivid memories could not be accurate from a three year old the publisher's thought. I remember a lot from those first years we moved into our house on Main Street. I was three, then. Why couldn't Laura? Some of us, writers I think, have excellent memories.
Laura was sixty when she published. She didn't have the self publishing like I do today. When I began this professional writing journey, I set out with that goal of sixty for publishing. Sixty is not old any more.
Laura and I write about our childhoods to encourage the next generation. We had great parents, wonderful sisters and even though she never wrote about her brother, we had one brother. Unfortunately, her brother died as an infant. Living in the past is not the point, but the sharing of eternal values drives my writing.
We also use curling irons. I think hers were probably hotter than mine.
Happy birthday, Laura, you live on in your books and in social media.
 Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Now, it's the cat's turn. Beautiful blue eyes against a blue and white cat blanket.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Team Teddy Tuesday

I'm changing the name of this post. I am now the editor of the Team Teddy Facebook page, asked by Teddy's biological father. The goal, as always, is to raise awareness of child abuse and a call to action.

Don't be silent.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


For Super Bowl Sunday:

I only participated in a few football games before seventh grade, even though that's all you would hear on a Saturday afternoon during a home game. Our stadium didn't have lights until after I was married and then the team started winning games.
One good thing with my father not working is he attended the football games with us. Mom came along, too. Dad got so involved in the game, cheering and mostly yelling at the team. Even using a few choice swear words. Mom embarrassingly said, "Jerry." She really didn't like emotionalism.
Dad even drove us to away games, filling the back seat with my friends. In seventh grade, you would think I'd have been self-conscious about being with my parents, but I loved it. My friends all loved him and it was a way to a football game to see our other friends and enjoy the band. He usually treated us after the game as well. Away games also proved to be fun because they were under the lights, a different experience than our afternoon games to which we could walk, just over the hill.
Dad relaxed on Sunday afternoons with football on TV. In the cold weather, he'd build a fire in the living room and we all camped out there. Mom watching some, but sleeping on the couch. I curled up in a chair reading a book. I could read to football because it was the same tone, not much change in the TV screen. Mom and I relished watching half time. Commercials provided entertainment, as well. Either we ordered Matsko's pizza or cooked hot dogs  and s'mores over the fire. Cocooning before the trend made popular.
Dad also watched evening football. I had some interest in the bowl games, seeing the on location show. The bands were fascinating because of the aerial  views. How do they learn to march like that, who can envision that and get kids to do that? Great band directors.
I loved the coziness of our living room. Once in a while, Dad agreed for Mom and I to watch a Shirley Temple movie or other old movie. But I am glad we only had one TV. We stayed together by the fire.